Anne Lamott, writer: quirky, irreverent, sacrilegious, spiritual, insightful, creative. She makes God accessible and faith seem possible, even in the darkest of times. Her beliefs are a mix of Christianity, Judaism, and humanism, and though her politics are somewhat extreme, I think she would be great fun to hang out with, and I would find great comfort in her as a friend if sick or dying. Do yourself a favor and get to know her. You will find yourself copying down sentences, even paragraphs, because you will want to look at them again and again.

Her latest book, published last week, “Small Victories,” is not one of my favorites, probably because it recycles many of the stories from her other books and magazine articles. But look for “Traveling Mercies”; “Grace Eventually” ; “Help, Thanks, Wow,“– the only three prayers you need, and “Stitches.” Loosely defined, these are all books on faith. Other stand-outs include “Bird by Bird,” which is a writing course in itself, and “Operating Instructions” about the first year of her son’s life.

But even in “Small Victories,” I found helpful thoughts.   “Nobody is going to get into Heaven without a letter of reference from the poor.” P. 72, quoting James Forbes “Not everything is going to be okay.” P. 267   “I’m a recovering higher power; I deeply want to fix and rescue everyone but can’t.” P. 268 “I had one skill that I could offer which is that I would just listen.” P. 226

In other works she has referred to God’s “In Box,” where you can deposit a worry or concern and then let it go. Or how about a “Grace ATM?” Recently I became concerned I had made too many withdrawals when I narrowly escaped getting broadsided by another car and the next week missed a bottom stair but was saved by a wall. And I can’t cite these two, but “Leave it lay where Jesus flang it” and “Expectations are resentments under construction.”

If you choose to seek out any of her work, I guarantee many thoughtful moments and some helpful advice.

© Dorothy C. Judd


About twofelines

What to say? I love my family and friends. I also love kids, cats, and books. Oh, and potato chips and Cheez-its. I am a retired teacher who still loves to be in the classroom, so now I am a substitute teacher.
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3 Responses to Lamott

  1. Ann says:

    I think I’ve read everything she’s written, Dorothy! I just finished a novel that haunts me and blows me away, the Irish Catholic ‘experience’ in Brooklyn, 1930’s on. “Someone ~ a novel” by Alice McDermott. She’s too young to have lived this, but perhaps some of her mother’s life is in this exquisite novel. Spare crisp writing, not a single word too many. “Just” a family’s story.

  2. twofelines says:

    Thanks for suggestion. Putting “Someone” near top of list. Btw: my fascination with Lamott began with her novels in the late 90’s. Have tried to catch all writing since then.

  3. efmcmahon says:

    I’ve heard her speak a number of times on TV and radio and have read some of her work and want to read more, Thanks for sharing this! She certainly is someone who walks the talk, and shares her experiences and insights so eloquently.

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